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ISW: Winter will not freeze Ukraine’s counteroffensive

The decisive factor in Ukraine’s counteroffensive is the West’s military aid, not the coming winter freeze.
Ukrainian troops winter
A Ukrainian soldier wearing winter camouflage walks to an outpost in the Luhansk region.. Credit: Radio Svoboda
ISW: Winter will not freeze Ukraine’s counteroffensive

The Ukrainian military stated this week that it intends to continue its counteroffensive operations through the winter season, the Institute for the Study of War said in its daily report.

Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Commander Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi told CNN on 22 September that Ukrainian forces aim to achieve a major breakthrough after capturing the Russian-held city of Tokmak in western Zaporizhzhia oblast. He emphasized that it is important that Ukrainian forces maintain their current initiative.

Tarnavskyi noted that most Ukrainian troops are advancing on foot without vehicles, meaning winter weather will not significantly slow their mobility.

His assessment was echoed by Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, in an interview published on 22 September by The War Zone.

Both officials expressed confidence that Ukraine can sustain its battlefield momentum in coming months, despite widely-held expectations that winter conditions will slow the pace of operations.

According to an earlier ISW report, while seasonal weather may slow ground troop movements and complicate logistics, it will not cause a definitive end to Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.

The culmination of the Ukrainian counteroffensive will likely depend rather on the Russian and Ukrainian balance of forces as well as on Western aid to Ukraine,” ISW concluded.

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